Definition of rectus in English:


nounPlural recti

  • 1Any of several straight muscles.

    • ‘It may also be represented by a single muscle bundle between the lateral and superior recti.’
    • ‘The rectus femoris, a long muscle that runs straight down the front of the thigh, is one of the major muscles of the quadriceps.’
    • ‘In the kidneys, needles are seen on the inside of the basal membranes of the tubuli recti.’
    • ‘Leading from the seminiferous tubules are the tubuli recti or straight tubules lined only with columnar cells apparently derived from Sertoli cells.’
    • ‘The rectus femoris runs straight down the front of your thigh and, ideally, should protrude farther than any of your other quad muscles.’
    1. 1.1 Each of a pair of long flat muscles at the front of the abdomen, joining the sternum to the pubis and acting to bend the whole body forwards or sideways.
      • ‘The main abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominis, is one long muscle that runs from just below the pecs down to the pelvic region.’
      • ‘The abdominals include: the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, and transverse abdominis.’
      • ‘The abdominal muscle responsible for the ‘six-pack’ look is the rectus abdominis.’
      • ‘During expiration, contraction of the rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis muscles draw the pubic plates dorsally, decreasing abdominal volume.’
      • ‘The most superficial ab muscle, the rectus abdominis, runs from the top of your pubic bone to the sternum.’
    2. 1.2 Any of a number of muscles controlling the movement of the eyeball.
      • ‘Editor Ahmed and Ali wondered whether it is the oblique eye muscles or the superior or inferior recti that adduct the eye.’
      • ‘Congenital orbital adherens syndrome was suspected, and MRI of orbits revealed retraction of the right eyeball with shortening of the right medial rectus and left deviation of the nasal septum.’
      • ‘Geoff hooked a needle through the rectus, the gossamer-thin muscle that controls eye movement, then immobilized it with a suture.’


Early 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘straight’.